NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

October 19, 2012

Manganiello: Do your research on Do your research on cholesterol pills

(Continued)

One of today’s pharmaceutical industry cash cows are statins. Statins are the most prescribed prescription drugs in the world — 25 percent of people over the age of 45 take them. Drug companies market and promote statins as dietary cholesterol-lowering drugs. Companies depict dietary cholesterol as a cause of stroke and heart disease.

Statins do probably help people with family hypercholesterolemia, a genetic defect that causes cholesterol levels above 325-350. But there is considerable controversy surrounding the position that dietary cholesterol causes heart disease and that statins are of any real use. Referring to the dietary cholesterol-heart disease-statin linkage, a respected science researcher, Dr. George Mann called it “the worst fraud ever perpetrated on the American public.”

Uffe Ravnskov, a science researcher and winner of the prestigious Leo Prize and the Integrity in Science Award, sharply criticized drug industry spin linking cholesterol, heart disease and statin drugs. And a 26-year follow up on the Framingham Heart Study showed that more than half of the subjects who died from heart disease had below average cholesterol levels.

Studies are now appearing that some researchers feel will call into question the use of statins. In 2012, a 6,700-subject study published in the journal Atheroscleros, showed that statin drugs actually increased coronary risk factors by increasing the prevalence and extent of coronary plaque.

This is not good news, since coronary plaque buildup is a signature of cardiovascular disease that increases risk for illness and death. Another 2012 study published in the journal Diabetes Care cause similar concerns. Frequent statin user type 2 diabetics with advanced atherosclerosis were shown to have higher amounts of calcification in their coronary arteries than did less frequent statin users.

Unfortunately, many pro statin studies have been funded by drug companies, studies that showed positive results. But these results could not be repeated by independent researchers. And 900 studies show adverse side-effects for statin drugs, including muscle problems, sexual dysfunction, cognitive impairment and cataracts.

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